6 Gaming hacks to help you level up

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Tips to reduce latency, improve accuracy and performance for an overall better gaming experience.

1. If you have strict/moderate NAT configured, you may experience increased lag and may not be able to join or host many games. Check your NAT settings and if needed, configure open NAT, which should be relatively simple and straight forward to do. As configuring NAT is different for every router, tutorials and step-by-step guides are readily available online. The only choice you need to make is between using uPnP (open specific ports), port forwarding (open range of ports) or faux-DMZ (open all ports, your console will sit in front of the firewall). DMZ is the least secure but most convenient option. Because all ports are open, your console will be fully exposed online. However, console attacks are very rare and so many gamers choose DMZ
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2. If you find that there is a slight but noticeable delay between your controller and display, and you are using a relatively new tv, then you may have input lag. To reduce input lag, try enabling the game mode setting on your HD TV. Although this may slightly reduce image quality, it will result in better gameplay. If this option is not available on your TV, you should still be able to manually reduce the image quality and disable any advanced image rendering settings.
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3. Use a wired connection if you can. If not possible, you can still optimise your Wi-fi connection by

  • Placing your router in a wifi sweetspot (Hint: Plenty of iOS and Android apps are available to detect these spots)
  • Boost your wifi signal with a beer can.
  • Switch off all other wifi connections (e.g. enable airplane mode on all your wifi devices e.g. mobile/laptops).
  • Restart the router to get a fresh connection

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4. This also applies to controllers. Use wired connections whenever possible.

5. Customize controller settings. Increase the sensitivity settings on your controller for more accurate shots and faster movements e.g. Sens 3-6 is the pro range for Halo players.

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6. Use headphones with inbuilt surround sound so you know what is happening around you/ where your enemies are etc.

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Zero-Carbon cities: Technology game-changer series (part 3/3)

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Masdar City, the world’s first zero-carbon city, won’t actually be zero-carbon, but it will be the greenest city ever built. Designed by British architect “Foster the City”, Masdar is a blend of the ancient and the high-tech. It is a low-carbon, skyscraper-free city built in the middle of a harsh desert, near the historic city of Abu Dhabi. It has a simple mantra “only use energy when you have exhausted design”

The city is powered by the sun. It is 90% solar powered, with the rest made up of wind, geothermal and even hydrogen. Recycling and composting is a high priority for the city. 80% of water will also be recycled and grey water being used for irrigation.

6 Interesting facts about Masdar city.

  1. It wasn’t the first project of its kind. Dongtan, a project to build a zero-carbon city in Chongming city was supposed to go ahead in 2006, but has since been put on hold indefinitely.
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  2. Inspired by old Arab settlements, including the ancient Aleppo Citadel in Syria, the buildings are built on higher ground, shade each other and designed in such a way to keep the air as cool as possible. This also includes the funneling of the natural sea breezes into the Masdar streets via tall wind towers.
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  3. Cars are banned, as Masdar will be the home of a new form of transportation called Personal Rapid Transportation, otherwise known as driverless cars
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  4. Currently home to 120 Masdar Institute of Science and Technology students, it estimates that eventually it will be home to 50,000 residents & 4,000 businesses. A number of businesses and services have already opened in Masdar. These include restaurants, travel agencies, supermarkets, offices (e.g. Siemens and General Electric), a university and a library.
    masdar city
  5. Masdar is already available as a travel destination. You can read the reviews on Tripadvisor.
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  6. Narendra Modi, Ban Ki Moon and Hillary Clinton are just some of the world leaders who have visited and been inspired by Masdar City. Narendra Modi has even buzzed around in a driverless car.
    narendraptr

Space Liners: Technology game-changer series (part 2/3)

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Dronies (selfies with a drone), 90 minute flights from Australia to the UK and zero-carbon cities are just some of the great innovations that we can look forward to by 2021. This technology series showcases some of the best the world has to offer.

1. What is a Spaceliner? Well it is not the Concorde
Supersonic aircraft that uses a rocket engine to take off. Supersonic or “twice the speed of sound” technology has actually been around since 1969. The Concorde was the first commercially viable supersonic flight and operated from 1969-2003. It was the fastest way to fly and held an unbroken safety record until 2000. The routes were taken by the rich, famous and powerful.

The Space Liner improves upon this technology to make it a safer, less noisy and more efficient way to fly. Learning from the technological and business failings of the Concorde, Space Liners have attracted great investor and research interest. E.g. Virgin Galactic, Aerion & Airbus.

2. It will save so much time
Humanity has progressed so fast in distance travel.

  • 1850 – Travel from Europe to Australia via sail would take at least 2 months with good winds and up to 4 months in calm weather.
  • 1900 – Travel via steamships on the Suez Canal route reduced travel time to just over 1 month.
  • 1930s – Air travel for wealthy immigrants became available. It still took 11 days and over 24 stopovers to travel from Australia to Europe.
  • 1960s – “Golden era of travel” Air travel became mainstream. By 1969, the Kangaroo route between London and Sydney took around 32 hours with 6 stopovers.
  • 1989 – Qantas set a world record, flying from Sydney to Australia in 20 hours.
  • 2015 – Today on average, it takes around 23 hours to fly from Australia to London.
  • By 2020, a flight from Sydney to London may just take 90 minutes.

3. It will be available on domestic flights – eventually
Aircraft manufacturers predict that Space Liners will go to market in 5-10 years or at least by 2050. Although at first, the routes will be first/business class flights, the business case for domestic flights is proven. It may take longer, but large aircraft manufacturers, who have spent years researching the technology and the market are optimistic.

4. It is environmentally friendlier than aircraft
The SpaceLiner only emits water vapour. The SpaceLiner’s reusable liquid rocket engines are made up of Liquid Oxygen and Hydrogen.

5. An out-of-the-world experience
At 65,000ft, we will already be able to see the curvature of the earth and experience the feeling of travelling at twice the speed of sound. Additionally, we may even get the chance to travel out-of-space in our lifetime. Virgin Galactic has ambitious plans for establishing a sub-orbital route. Even with set-backs potentially delaying the original take-off date of 2018, we can expect to see this happen in our lifetime. If this does take off – we may someday get to see the blue earth while being weightless in space.

Next: Zero carbon cities

The Age of Drones: Technology game-changer series (part 1/3)

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Dronies (selfies with a drone), 90 minute flights from Australia to the UK and zero-carbon cities are just some of the great innovations that we can look forward to by 2021. This technology series showcases some of the best the world has to offer.

In 2007, Jordi Munoz & Chris Anderson met on an online community started by Chris Anderson called “DIY Drones”. Jordi was a 19-year old Mexican immigrant who assembled a drone from parts of a Wii controller and radio-operated toy helicopter. Soon after sharing his discovery on the forum, Chris & Jordi established 3D Robotics to sell drones to the DIY community, however, the co-owners were met with such ferocious demand outside the DIY community that the company expanded into what it has become today.

Earlier in 2015, 3D Robotics raised $50 million in investment funding. Another drone company, DJI, raised $75 million in the same year. DJI, with their popular Phantom drones, are the current market leader and are expecting to make $1 billion this year.

This is just the beginning. In early 2015, GoPro announced that they have joined with 3D Robotics to release their first drone by 2016 and the market loves it. GoPro’s shares received a 6.5% boost on the day of the announcement. In another world first, Singapore Post have announced that they are testing drone deliveries of snail mail.

Governments are responding too. New drone laws have been legislated to protect privacy and security. This includes the extension of anti-peeping laws to prevent unwarranted surveillance and spying, as well as extended civil aviation laws to prevent drones from destroying aircraft and other drones. New laws will also prevent people from destroying/vandalizing other people’s drones.

We are on the cusp of a new age of drones and it is hard to predict just how different our world may look in a few years’ time.

Next: How Space liners may change the way we fly.

Please note: I have no shares in any of the companies mentioned and will not receive any payment for these posts.

Dronies – The new Selfie!

Drones Sacrificed for Spectacular Volcano Video

The internet is growing darker day-by-day

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In the deepest corners of the dark web, anything goes. These are sites that cannot be found using typical search browsers like Google and Yahoo and are usually not accessed via a standard operating system like Microsoft or Apple. Instead, individuals access these sites using The Onion Router (TOR) browser and a hidden operating system (e.g. Tails) booted from a USB or CD.

TOR isn’t secret, in fact TOR is widely used by a diverse range of groups including criminals, non-criminals, NGOS, journalists, security researchers and government authorities alike who need to browse anonymously for a number of reasons. It is the security in numbers that can protect a TOR user’s anonymity and freedom from censorship.

For those interested in using TOR though – beware. TOR is not banned, which means that authorities, like the NSA, may be gaining good intelligence on TOR users. For user’s who are not security savvy, the government may even know what they are visiting.

TOR is a free utility that anyone can download and configure. The TOR website offers clear instructions on how to do this. Once set-up, the user connects to a series of encrypted TOR servers (which are also physically located in a secure location) before they connect to the destination site. As the connection is encrypted at each node, it is not possible to detect where the original request came from through traffic packet analysis alone. However, it is possible for Internet Security Provider’s (ISP’s) to distinguish TOR traffic from regular traffic– they just won’t know what you are accessing. Even if authorities took over a hidden dark web server or set-up a dark web honeypot to lure users, it will be difficult for them to identify the users (but not impossible*).

Despite the risks of being caught – the use of TOR in accessing the dark web is increasing. On the dark web, users can purchase personal credentials, illegal drugs and weapons. They can also hire hitmen, order DDos or other attacks and plan criminal/terrorist activities. The dark web is also full of some of the most terrifying web content shared by disturbed minds. Silk Road may have been closed down but it can easily be replaced. It is a continual struggle of power between criminals and authorities.  

Top 5 most viewed posts

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I am taking a small break from blogging over the August/September period but I will be back soon. In the meantime, here are the most viewed/shared posts over the past 5 months. Enjoy!

  1. 3 Training grounds to train the white hacker in you
  2. Why China is a parallel universe
  3. Breaking Https:// with Bar mitzvah
  4. 3 PR disasters caused by innocent mistakes
  5. Breaking Https:// with Poodle

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @shuutech. I follow back

8 things to stop doing immediately

We can always take online security a little for granted but some behaviours put us at more risk than others. This isn’t an exhaustive list so if you can think of more, please add it to the comments. Another one I wanted to add but couldn’t find a picture for is failing to verify a BSB/Account Number with someone you are transferring money to. You should always verify over two different mediums before transferring e.g. sms/email/phone (especially if you are transferring a large amount of money). People have lost a lot of money by missing this simple step.

1. Give away personally identifiable information about children’s whereabouts, likes/dislikes and birthdays.

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2. Plastering family/bumper stickers all over your car. You might as well wear a “come rob me” sign.

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3. Using Windows XP and/or Internet Explorer 6. No anti-virus/spyware protection

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4. Checking emails/banking accounts/social media accounts over “Free Public Wifi”. Ok so if this is a little hard to avoid, at the very least be aware of the risks, avoid doing banking over this channel and change your passwords frequently. Also, set different passwords for your accounts…

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5. Logging in/entering your password details from email links. This can be a phishing attack to steal log in credentials. Instead, always log in via the official website.

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6. Going to the official site and entering login/password details in without checking the URL/certificate details. Instead, look for a green bar.

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7. Doing stupid things in public like Karen Bailey’s epic racist rant against Chinese people. You will be publicly disgraced and even arrested.

Do: Stand up to racists (non-violently). The guy in the background became a national hero after hitting back with “You’re scum”

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8. Posting stupid things online that you can never take back. Justine learnt the hard way after losing her job after this tweet. The tweet spread like wildfire and a campaign for her immediate dismissal had taken off during her return flight. By the time she landed, she had already lost her job.

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